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India vs England 3rd Test: Ishant Sharma set for landmark 100th match in Motera

The third Test between India and England is not only a landmark second Pink Ball Test in India, but it is a special occasion for Indian paceman Ishant Sharma as well. The Delhi speedster will become only the second Indian paceman after Kapil Dev to play 100 Tests.  

In the second Test against England in Chennai, Ishant had become only the third Indian speedster to take 300 wickets after Kapil Dev and Zaheer Khan. Like fine wine, Ishant Sharma has kept on getting better with time.  

In his first 33 Tests, Ishant Sharma had a bowling average of 32.6, from Test 34 to 66 the average slipped to 41.34 but from Tests 67 to 99 he has been phenomenal with average of 23.42. His stats are even more impressive if you look at his average which is 22.91 or since 2018 when it dips to 19.34. 

Ishant’s current record stands at 302 wickets in 99 Tests at an average of 32.22 with 11 five-wicket hauls and 1 ten-wicket haul.  

“If your career is 14 years long and you are still playing, you cannot name just one highlight. It is difficult to pinpoint just one highlight, every sportsperson has the graph going up and down. I cannot say about that one thing that took my graph or brought it down,” Ishant said during a virtual press conference ahead of the Pink Ball Test which gets in Ahmedabad on Wednesday (February 24). 

“Obviously, it feels great to be playing 100 Tests, I learn a lot from Zaheer Khan, I learnt from his work ethic. I have told everyone playing in the team that if you keep on working on your fitness, the rewards will come,” he said. 

Ishant had made his Test debut under the leadership of Rahul Dravid and he has bowled some memorable spells like the one against England at Lord’s in 2014 as he finished with figures of 7-74. During his first Australia tour in 2007-08, Ishant bowled a famous spell to Ricky Ponting.  

“When I went to Australia in 2007-08 in Australia, I was just a youngster and I was just focusing on bowling. I did not think much, as we bowl in domestic cricket, I just followed the same. Over the years, I learnt by being in different situations. I have always had this motive in making the team win, till the day I play, I will play with the same motive. Personal milestones can be there, when you are about to leave your career you can see these milestones. But these are just numbers for me, I do not play for numbers, I just play to win,” the Delhi paceman said. 

When asked whether lack of white-ball cricket has increased his shelf life in the longest format, Ishant replied: “I love to play white-ball cricket, sportsperson have their job to play, this is the least they can do. If I am not playing white-ball cricket, it should not affect my Test cricket. I should be grateful for how many matches I have played in Tests. I think like this only. I do not think that if I played all three formats, I wouldn’t have played 100 Tests. I would have achieved the feat a bit late, but I would have played 100 Tests.” 

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